If you know me well, then you know my OCD tendencies. My mom assures me they’ve been there since birth, but she still loves me even though I cried and begged for “seamless socks” as a preschooler. I just couldn’t get over being able to feel the seams on my toes all day. Similarly, I have always been a believer that certain things should never meet. For example, the collard greens many will be eating to start off the new year tomorrow should not touch the black eyed peas on the plate and they should be eaten separately (yes, I know they will be touching once they all hit my stomach–I’ve heard it a million times so no need to repeat).
Much like the different food items on my plate, ornately decorated ceramic salt and pepper shakers and vegetable stew should never touch. Apparently my three year old son disagrees. A couple weeks ago, while we were enjoying a meal together around the table as we try to do every day as a family, he decided to put the Christmas salt and pepper shakers (which I received as a gift from a family with teenagers during my time as a student ministries director) right on top of the sloppy soup in his bowl.
I first stared at him and thought to myself, “No, this can’t be my son.” But for those of you who have seen him, you understand there’s no denying it. My second thought was, “Is this right?” In other words, do I reprimand him for doing something that I don’t think should ever happen? What if it is not a matter of right or wrong?
So the dilemma became: Do I immediately correct my son and model how to appropriately eat dinner at the table or do I let him learn something in his moment of not doing things as I think they should be done? Which decision will put him in a better position in the future? Will he be better off receiving my correction or am I squelching some kind of revelation that he will receive from this moment of exploration (or mischief)? Can you say “over-analyze???” Just a little glimpse into my mind. (Imagine being married to this kind of thinker. I can hear your empathy for my wife over the internet.)
I wonder if there is a correlation between leading others and this account from the Knopp family table tales archive. As I strive to develop leaders in the local church, do I completely release them to lead as they choose (even if to me it looks like putting a Christmas salt shaker in the soup) or do I provide micromanaging from start to finish? This is a tension I will strive to manage well as we move forward.
With our first round (I’ve labeled them “801South Pioneers”) of small group leaders planning to launch their own small groups the week of January 20th, I have full confidence in their ability to navigate this new area of leadership. I know they will work hard to provide intentional community for the fortunate ones who will now sit under their care. I can’t wait to see how people experience relationship through these small groups. I have put my time and effort in training on the front end so that I can fully release these leaders to do just that: lead, no matter what it looks like to me. As long as these leaders filter their decisions through our 801South values, they are well gifted and equipped to be decision makers in their new role. I also hope they know how greatly I support them and will be right with them every step of the way. I hope both of my sons know this as well.
Here is a picture of (most of) the group and the cake we shared at our last small group to celebrate their completion of the first 801South turbo training group. Congrats again!
When you are asked to take a position of leadership, do you prefer to be given freedom as a decision maker or would you rather be micromanaged?